Wow, how the weeks fly here. I can't believe I only have 3 weeks left until I leave for Poland! I'm nowhere near ready to go yet. There's so much learning I have to do. Now it's really crunch time. There's lots of work left to do.
Hannah, Elder Garfield loved the goo. Thanks so much for making it for him and for me! It's always so much fun to get a package from home. Mom, nice work with the Dutch Caramel Waffles. Definitely a good send. The juice boxes as well. I'm a big fan.
Dad, thanks so much for the hints about the Atonement. I'm really trying to understand it and go into more depth. Your hints have really helped. I'm learning to really love Paul. That scripture in 2 Cor. 12:9-10 is a new favorite of mine. I feel like Paul is quite similar to Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. They both had life changing experiences that turned them into some of the best missionaries the world has ever seen. I'm excited to go into more depth with Paul's teaching and really learn what he has to say. Any ideas on where to start? I'm just a big fan of the whole New Testament in general. Bro. Stice shared a great scripture yesterday with us. Philemon 1:20-21. I want to be known that well for my obedience, that people will know that I will do more than what they say, not just what they ask. By the way, it is Jim Stice. Did I mention that the principal of Freedom Elementary is the other counselor of my Branch Presidency? Anyway, between Bro. Stice and Bro. Melville, they're both really stretching me with gospel principles and obedience. I love it.
I didn't have time to write Grandma Honey and Grandpa Ted today, but send them my love. I will try to write them next week. Sounds like things are very interesting as always over there at Honeyland.
Emma and Heather, I loved both of your talks. They were great. I loved the way you both used experiences to get your points across. I'm trying to share experiences in my lessons in Polish, but it's hard. Between casing adjectives and nouns and putting verbs into past tense, not even mentioning knowing the vocabulary, it's a real test of my knowledge. I'm working hard though.
Mom, I didn't get your letter about the James scandal and Uncle Rick until Monday after I sent my email. Dear Elder was just a little behind on their letters for some reason. Elder Godwin ended up with 21 letters that day, a bunch of them repeats. Still though, 21 was the best haul we'd ever seen, and we're regular old veterans by now. I was very sad to hear about Rick. I'm praying for him! I've got confidence in him. Please, keep me updated on what's happening with him though. I hear Dad is in London.
Speaking of England, what's going on with the Olympics? Not that I'm supposed to focus on sports while I'm here on the mission, but can you give me any sort of an update on track and field? Like who wins the 100, 200, and the 400? I'd love to see Tyson Gay upset Usain Bolt in the 100 or the 200.
So on Thursday nights we teach something called TRC. I can't exactly remember what it stands for, but we teach returned Polish missionaries. Anyway, one of the people Elder Garfield and I taught was named Will Plumb. He told us we were really coming along in our Polish and doing quite well teaching together. Apart from that, we asked him about Polish grammar and how Polish compares to other languages. He said that he took Japanese for a while and that Polish was lots harder. He also said that Polish grammar is comparable to Finnish, which is maybe the hardest language to learn. So, basically we're learning one of the hardest languages in the world and we only have 9 weeks to do it, but I'm up for the challenge! Mom, thanks a bunch for the updates on my buddies. I loved that. If you could send those every week I'd really appreciate it. Updates from Elder Kyle Anderson and Aaron Walters would be awesome too if you could get anything from them, thanks!
For music, just an IPOD with speakers will be great. Just a few requests for music, if you can get the MoTab "Come, Come Ye Saints" CD on there, that would be great. Basically, all the MoTab would be great. Plus, O Divine Redeemer, O My Father, and even This Is The Christ would be wonderful if you can get those on there. They don't have to be from anyone in particular. I think Sarah Judd also wanted to put a CD of her favorites on there before you sent it. Heath, if you can make sure she gets that CD to you before you send it, that would be great, thanks!
Mom and Dad, good luck on the ULCER! I know you can do it. Work hard. As good ol' Coach Bryson would say, "If you start too hard, finish harder."
I love the updates on everything going on at home. How was the cabin? I hope everyone had fun on the boat. I'm sad I couldn't be there, but I definitely have more important things to do.
I got to go to the temple again today! I loved it. Such an awesome experience. The temple is such a holy place. Revelation is abundant there. I went with a question about D&C 84:20-21. I was looking for how the "power of godliness" was manifest in the ordinance. I got an answer, but I believe it is very basic compared to what it could be. Dad, any ideas on how the "power of godliness" is manifest in all the other ordinances? Some help would be much appreciated on this doctrinal subject.
So, I've joined the MTC Choir! I know, I'm not much of a singer, but I figured I'd give it a shot. It's actually quite fun, and I'm not half bad at plucking out a base line. We're singing "Faith of Our Fathers" tomorrow. I'm excited.
Everything is blending together here. I can't tell yesterday from today, last week from the weeks before, and so on. It's awesome though. I'm learning so much. A quote from the devotionals really struck me last night. Robert P. Swensen spoke to us. He's a big whig in the MTC world I guess. He said, "If you can't change it, love it." He was speaking about the conditions around you. When it's hot, love it. When it's cold, love it. If no one will listen to you, love it. You can't change it, so just make the best of it. It's a great attitude to have and one I definitely want to implement.
Last tuesday, we heard from Gary J. Coleman, and emeritus seventy. He was a very powerful speaker. He talked about the consistent message from Christ throughout the scritpures, which was "Come unto Me." Whether it was Peter on the stormy sea, the apostles in John 1:39, or to us today, His mesasge is still "Come." That's when it hit me, Christ is the perfect missionary. Ok, that sounds bad that I didn't know that before, but I guess that is when I really internalized it. Christ never teaches without inviting, or rather giving a commitment. He doesn't mince words. He's bold, but not overbearing. Everything I need to be is put forth by His character. It's a powerful example to follow. I'm striving to do my best.
I love you all. Heather and Emma, stay out of trouble. Heather, yes you are interesting, but stubborn as well. Don't make me come home and stop you from reading Emma's mail. Yeah, love you too ;). I'm glad you're learning the importance of good friends. Always remember that.
Emms, keep working hard. Study the scriptures. They've really opened up to me while I've been on the mission. I know they can do the same for you if you really strive to learn from them. Pray for the Spirit and I know He will help you.
Hannah-Bear! Are you listening to the Spirit? I'm glad my longboard is safe. Keep rollerblading! We'll do it a lot when I get home.
Mom, you're the best. I'm constantly striving to be the missionary I know you want and expect me to be.
Dad, I couldn't do it without you. Thanks for being a strong base for me to rely on. I don't know what I'd do without the doctrinal base you gave me and the constant help on all my questions.
I love you all. Keep praying for me! You're all in my prayers. The Gospel is true!
With lots of love,